Archived 2014 News
Costello owner recounts life living close to Costello Engineering Ltd in Kent, UK.
17 November 2014
Chris Rayner has written a love ly note to mgcostello.com reminiscing about growing up around the sound of growling V8s in rural Kent. He is on the look out for a Costello of his own; something that would look great of the roads around Basel in Switzerland where he now resides. Here is his note:
“As a 6th-form schoolboy I had a job as a garage attendant at the Texaco garage on the A21. We lived about 5 minutes walk away so it was handy working there. This was around 1970 to 1972 when I went up to University. The garage was self-service for fuel but my job was to pop out and offer to check oil and water ... and sell oil as a result.
Often in the evenings there would be a growling noise coming from the workshop next to the garage. Often there would be a banshee wail, a disappearing tail end and parallel black lines across the forecourt as this vision tore up the Farnborough bypass. Sometimes there would even be one of these lovely cars coming to rest at the pump wanting for a drink of 5 Star. As an inquisitive lad I was shown what lay beneath the bulging bonnet, and it left my eyes bulging! I was just getting into cars at the time and had acquired a 1965 998cc Austin Cooper so was learning how to work on engines.
But the beauty of this whole Costello package has remained with me ever since that time". Chris Rayner.
Eifel Mountains Gathering Report Now Uploaded
Thanks to Charlie Marchant for providing the report and photographs of the recent and popular Eifel Gathering in west Germany. See here for the full report.
Costello Racing Crash!
Sadly Lawrence Wood has stuffed his Costello Racing GT (the only one racing in the world) into the tyre barriers whilst competing at Snetterton in the final round of the 2014 MGCC BCV8 Championship. It was quite a big front-on shunt and the 5-point harnesses certainly saved his life!
The car has significant panel, chassis and radiator damage but Lawrence is hopeful it will be rebuilt in time for next season.
Reuniting a Costello with its original owner form the 1970s
John Britaz has been in touch via the mgcostello.com Forum regaling how he once owned EOB 913K—a MkI GT originally in the UK, now being restored by Judith Goertz in Normandy, France.
John is now retired and living in Arizona, but as a young man lived in Dorset on the Army base in Bovington. His father purchased the Harvest Gold Costello MkI GT from a dealer in Poole called Richard Griffiths, trading an Almond Yellow Rover P6 3500S. John sold the car on his father’s behalf to a policeman in a pub one night in Wool.
Hopefully Judith will complete the restoration soon and the car—and perhaps John—will hit the roads in 2015.
Richard Read’s car back on the Adelaide Roads
Great news from Australia as mgcostello.com learns that Richard Read has finally completed the restoration of his very rare MkI Roadster. Originally ‘peuce’ yellow, it is now resplendent in Old English White. Now the Victorian weather has improved, Richard has been enjoying taking his pride and joy out on to the sweeping roads of the Adelaide hills
This car is known to be one of only 5 MkI roadsters in the world, making it rare indeed. More information and pictures of Richard’s car can be found on the Roadsters page.
German Costello GT emerges from Restoration with new owner
Bodo Aden’s rebuild of a MkI GT is now complete. New owner - Luc van Riet, from Antwerp, Belgium - is very happy with his new car having already covered 5000km on several long runs, including trips to the Le Mans Classic, WW1 battlefields and to Oslo in Norway. See his profile for updates.
Costello Racing - Highs and Lows
Lawrence Wood once again achieved a second-in-class finish in his MkI Costello GT at Oulton Park in Cheshire, UK. Racing in the MGCC's BCV8 and Thoroughbred Sportscars Championship races he qualified strongly in, both but in the second race overshot the downhill Cascades Corner and parked his car on the grass! Finishing the race down the field but still as happy as ever to be competing and gaining experience in every race.
Only one place behind Lawrence was Costello GT-owner Ben Tovey in his Class-B MGB 1800cc Roadster. Ben currently leads his Class in the BCV8 championship and is constantly pestered by Lawrence to get his Costello on the road soon!
‘New’ Costello comes to light
Please welcome Eddie Ives and son Dan to the Costello Community. Eddie has owned his blue MkI GT (UTM467K) since 1976. Following a gearbox failure in 1980 the vehicle has awaited a full restoration. Daniel’s recent coming-of-driving-age has spurred Eddie into carrying out the full commissioning.
The car has all the Costello tell-tale signs; double u/j steering column, manipulated inner wings and sump, grille, badging, oil reservoir and floating water tank. More updates will be made on the website as the restoration progresses.mgcostello.com wishes him luck!
Read more about Eddie’s car in the Restorations section.
Bonham’s auction Costello now in Belgium
DHK 418K has re-appeared, fresh from its strong showing at the Bonham’s auction in June this year, and is awaiting a restoration with Pascal Mathieu in Belgium. Pascal has been in touch with mgcostello.comsupplying photographs and details of the commissioning required. Despite this keeping him busy, he also manages the Lynx Eventer website – a similar, British-built rarity along the lines of the Costello story. Take a look (www.lynxeventer.com).
Despite the body being in relatively poor condition it has been suggested Pascal and his team try their best to save it rather than bolt-on all the old parts to a new body. Originality will maintain value and collectability in the long run.
Eifel Mountains Costello Gathering: Attendees Increasing
It’s not too late to register your interest in joining this year’s annual Gathering; a fabulous undulating and exciting drive around the Eifel Mountains on the German/ Belgian borders. To date SEVEN Costello cars are confirmed as taking part, with a further two keen but yet to commit. If your car is not quite ready for a long drive but you are keen to take part, then please feel free to attend in another car….as long as it is ‘interesting’!
Please contact Lawrence or Peter for more information and to register your attendance. It will be a great event and a golden opportunity to meet other enthusiastic Costello owners.
Costello Racing Success - MG90 Silverstone
Rookie driver (now in his second season) Lawrence Wood managed two second place finishes (in class) at the fabulous MG90 event at Silverstone last weekend. Two solid performances running high up the field enabled the only racing Costello in the world to be seen in full view by the thousands who attended the annual event.
Many keen attendees visited the Costello Racing ‘pagoda’ in the paddock to ask about the car proving that interest in our rare cars is still very high. Sebring-Costello owner Laurie Way was also on hand to cheer Lawrence along. Further championship races are planned for the Costello GT in September (Oulton Park) and October (Snetterton).
Costello Gathering Announced! Aachen, Germany: 19th to 21st September
At last! A European Gathering is taking shape, this year in the region of Aachen on the German Belgian borders. Peter Brodt and Lawrence Wood are taking enquiries to gauge interest before plunging in with detailed route maps, accommodation plans and so on.
A target of 10 Costellos is set. Aachen itself is only 340km from Calais for those travelling from the UK for example, so not much further from the popular 2011 Namur and Ardennes Gathering.
If you are interested in taking part and finding out more, please get in touch with Lawrence as soon as possible. Tentative dates are the 19th to 21st September, 2014.
Another Costello Sold!
Guido Baldhoff from Germany recently collected Paula Summers’ car from Paignton in Somerset and trailered the car back to the Continent, ably assisted by Costello collector Peter Brodt. The car (a MkI GT with unique bonnet) is in great condition but the engine needs some fettling before it will turn. Guido plans to have the car ready by September, hopefully in time for our 2014 Aachen Gathering!
Mgcostello.com looks forward to hearing from Guido very soon and seeing yet another saved Costello on the roads of Europe.
Busy Peter Brodt Restoration Update
Peter has been hard at work with one of his three Costello cars, rebuilding the ex-Peter Roscoe Mk I Roadster - one of only 4 in the world today.Pictured here with original owner Nigel Bryant in the mid 1980s.
The car has been welded, and the tunnel lifted so an LT77 gearbox can be fitted. Most of the parts have been painted (doors, front fenders, front valance, bonnet and boot lid) with the body hopefully painted by end June. Both axles are finished and are ready to be installed. The car is being converted to left hand drive. There is only the problem with the double jointed steering column but Peter assures mgcostello.com that he has the use of a very good mechanic and welder so he hopes to solve this problem when it arises.
Read an update on Roger Cook’s fabulous - and unique - MkIII GT
Roger’s car is a unique, fuel-injected beast developed in conjunction with Ken Costello in the early 1990s and represents the extreme of what Ken was capable of achieving with his engineering knowledge and prowess. The specification of this car is mind boggling, so read an update right here.
The car is currently off the road undergoing some minor fettling but is expected to be ripping tarmac in the West of England very soon.
Stuart Simons proud new owner of Costello GT ‘WPH 540G’
The previous owner (Alan Worth) was unable to continue to drive the car due to health issues. Stuart (Secretary of the Northants MGOC) - and a good friend of Alan’s - chose to purchase the car from Alan as a 60th birthday present to himself. The car now resides in Northamptonshire - alongside Stuart's 1275 Midget - and gets used on a regular basis. The car will be at Santa Pod for the Retro Show weekend, 21-22 June, as will former-owner Alan who is now the proud owner of a Trophy Yellow MGF Trophy.
A ‘Lost Costello’ is Up for Auction!
Another Costello has surfaced! DKH 418K can be currently seen in mgcostello.com’s Lost Costellos pages, its provenance being unknown, until now! Bonhams will be offering the car at no reserve in Banbury, UK on the 7th June. Mgcostello.com has been reliably informed by Bonhams that the car is thought to be a runner, though not having been driven for some time. Some light restoration will be required no doubt, but this offers a great opportunity to rescue another one of Ken’s creations.
From the Bonhams page then:
This MGB GT V8 was purchased for the late owner's collection in 2004 and was last MoT'd in 2008. It is fitted with a twin exhaust system rather than the stock single-pipe arrangement and has a lower-than-standard axle ratio (3.3:1 instead of 3.07:1). 'DHK 418K' was pictured in 'Enjoying MG' magazine (September 1983 edition) while owned by Pearl and Derek McGlen. The car comes with a V5 registration document.
So who’s going to grab it? Keep an eye out here for the auction result.
Mark Cope joins the Costello Community
Mark is the proud new owner of Brian Davey’s MkI restored GT - the car which turned so many heads at theBristol Classic Car Show a few years ago. Although Mark has owned the car since 2013 he has yet to drive it extensively but hopes to do so this summer. Perhaps both Mark and Costello will be seen at an Autumn Gathering this year when other Costello owners can revel in the beauty of this restored example, probably one of the best on the road today.
Recent Costello Sales
Both Alan Worth and Lawrence Wood have sold their MkI GT and MkII Roadster respectively. Both achieved strong values for their vehicles which are still commanding prices of over 20% more than the factory V8 models. Details for the new owners are yet forthcoming but will be shared here on mgcostello.com and the owners made very welcome. Llion Williams’ GT and Paula Summers’ GT are still for sale, both requiring some light restoration and commissioning to bring up to road-going standards.
Missing Costello GT?
Robin Sherwood has been in contact with mgcostello.com with this note (abridged). Can anyone throw any light on this?
“My father—Dr Martin Paul Sherwood - bought his Costello from new. Unfortunately I was very young at the time so do not remember much about it. He did not keep it long. My abiding memory of the car was that it had an electric aerial which fascinated me at the time! I am pretty sure it was a MkI as it had a bonnet bulge and eggbox grille, and the paint was most likely black. The car was based in Bourne End, Buckinghamshire, though might have been registered to his medical practice in Portland Place, London, W1. I would be interested to hear if it is possible to identify the car and find out if it still exists.”
Can anyone help?
6volt to Twin 12volt Battery Upgrade
Richard Fairclough has successfully updated his MkI Roadster ‘Elvis’ to double 12v battery power, replacing the popular but fragile twin 6v source units. This was a conversion that Ken Costello performed for customers upon request in the 1970s. Roger Cook’s MkIII GT was also converted as was Lawrence Wood’s Roadster, though the latter was done in 2012 and with a single 12v unit.
The twin system is a more robust solution than the two 6v batteries, and despite what some mechanics have said, weight distribution is not affected. Get in touch if you too have made this conversion and let us know if there are any issues.
Racing Costello Tested at Silverstone
Lawrence Wood’s MkI GT Racer successfully completed over 50 laps of the Silverstone National circuit this week as a guest of the HGCPA and VSCC. Pictured here in a garage which it shared with a Chevron B8, Lightweight E-Type Jaguar, Aston Martin DB3S, Lola T70 Spider, Lotus 23b and a Cooper Monaco Bobtail, the 3900cc Costello held its own very well. It even embarrassed a few of its track companions, many of which have values which represent more than the entire global Costello population together. It’s surprising what a set of good tyres can do to the handling! Lawrence’s GT will run again at the MG Live! Silverstone Event in June, more on which very soon.
MkII Roadster German Restoration
Hubert Jansen’s recommissioning of Peter Brodt’s MkII Roadster continues apace. Photographs will be shared soon. The car is now undergoing an engine and electrical refurbishment, with every moving and guiding part of the engine replaced as new. Hubert’s budget is high for his much-loved project, on which he is keen to maintain some originality by not changing the capacity of the engine, keeping everything as Ken Costello’s team had originally designed.
New Zealand Costello Update: Barry and Tessa Keene
Barry and Tessa Keene from Whakatane, New Zealand continue to clock-up the miles in their 1973 MkII Roadster. The car has recently been to the North Cape of NZ as well as to the Bluff at the southern tip of the South. Island. The Keenes belong to the (NZVCC) NZ Vintage Car Club, being overall winners in the Far North VCC Rally and Class winner at the Gisborne and Eastern Bay of Plenty Rallies. Having the front wheels properly balanced has been a problem, though finally resolved by a company in Palmerston North. The owner races a MK 11 Cortina which develops 600bhp!
The Costello is going very well 27mpg is achieved on average on those long trips. Barry’s car is one of only two in New Zealand and of only four in Australasia.
Phil Rule’s MkII Restoration Update
Whilst this Surrey-based MkII GT awaits bodywork commissioning, progress on Phil’s restoration has been slow. Phil has stated:
“It's not for the faint hearted, though is partially completed but like all things with MGs it has not been smooth running. Having got it completely stripped back to bare metal and in parts no metal, it became obvious that at some stage in its life prior to me buying it in 1985 it had had a big shunt to the rear offside. Unscrupulous mechanics had used copious amounts of filler and some ornate and haphazard brazing as opposed to proper welding. It is shorter that side than the other by more than a inch! We tried to find the jigs but cannot find a set compatible with what we need, so we are making our own. This in itself has delayed us considerably. Had this car been a factory V8 BGT I would have scrapped the bodyshell and bought a new one.
With the Costello modifications to the engine bay in particular, I am keen on that history and provenance is maintained. What started as new sills and a repaint has become new sills, front and rear wings, doors, inner panels in the boot etc. etc.”
Phil is hopeful that work will begin again in summer 2014. He is in contact with Judith Goertz in France who is also restoring a MkI GT. Mgcostello.com awaits in hope of another Costello hitting the roads very soon.
The Marchant Costello GT is back on the road!
Young Charlie and Oliver attended the Inaugural Costello Gathering in Surrey, UK in 2008, with Charlie too young to drive legally and with his GT on his father’s trailer. He’s informed mgcostello.com that the car is now on the road and has been since summer 2013; the first time in 9 years! The whole family appear to be enjoying driving this fully restored MkI GT. Hopefully it will be out at the next Gathering.
For a full profile and some updated pictures, take a look in the GTs section.
Team Costello to Race Again in 2014
Our very own pedaller Lawrence Wood is to campaign his 1970 3900cc GT once again in the MGCC BCV8and Thoroughbred Sportscars Championships in 2014. After some tentative but solid performances in 2013—his rookie year— Lawrence is now looking for some class podiums this year as rules on engine displacement have been altered in the Costello’s favour.
This car is the only known original Costello to be racing in the world today. It remains a mystery as to why Ken—a keen F3 racer and British Touring Car Champion—never campaigned one of his own cars in its day.
Costello bonnets for sale—beware!
Our friends at Honeybourne Mouldings in the UK are now selling fiberglass pressings (mouldings) on the open market. A couple of us have politely asked them to remove these from public sale for fear of seeing standard MGs sporting MkI Costello hardware, therefore potentially devaluing our cars.
A compromise has been reached whereby any owner approaching Honeybourne to purchase such a bonnet has to provide proof of authenticity of his or her car. Since the only truly authenticated Costellos are those with Certificates mgcostello.com does not predict bumper sales in the near future.